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Book Review
Sd.Kfz. 9 Famo
Famo's Sd.Kfz. 9 18 ton Zugkraftwagen armoured and unarmored variants
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by: Carlos Martin [ VARANUSK ]

Intro

Nuts&Bolts has produced a new volume on the 18ton Sd.Kfz 9, commonly known as "Famo". There was already a previous volume (nº 12) on this vehicle, but on their own words, "we had decided to release a completely new edition on this fascinating vehicle, instead of a reprint.
The author and the team have been able to collect so much new and interesting material from the archives and during visits to private collections, that it was unnecessary to copy any drawings, photographs or even text from the original volume 12.
"

So we have here a book that can be read independently from the first, as it has all information. Itd will appeal also the owners of the original volume due to the new content.

First look

The book has the usual features of the series, that is, a softcover A4 portrait size with satin, good quality paper. There are 232 pages with main sections for historical information, contemporary photos, drawings, colour profiles, museum preserved vehicles and models. Text is bilingual in English and German.
All variants of the Sd.Kfz. 9 are covered.

In Detail

The first part spreads for 60 pages and is mainly text, with photos related to it, and covers the development, Technical description, study of variants, Production plants and series production, colouring and tactical signs, and Operation and experience reports.
Apart from a detailed description of the vehicle's history and technical features, the text is well complemented with photos (for example the engine alone), tables with changes during production and more.
The different variants are covered in their own sections, namely the 9/1 with a 6ton crane, the 9/2 with a Demag crane, the 9/3 with a 40ton winch and the carrier for a 8.8cm flak gun.
It is interesting to read the different features of each vehicle, and the specific changes required to accommodate each equipment.
Then the production is explained in detail, with the different factories involved, Army production requirements, repairing program and other information.
The colouring and tactical markings section is quite small and does not provide new information, as the Famo received all standard camouflages depending on the time.
On the other hand, the Operation and experience reports section is a very interesting reading, with details of the different heavy guns that were towed, or diagrams with the standard vehicle allocation to batteries.
There is also a subsection here devoted to the Sd.Ah. 116 trailer.
Finally, there are two pages of modelling information, with the experience of Vinnie Branigan and Darren Thompson building the kits, and a list of models and aftermarket items available for the Famo.

The next 84 pages are of Contemporary Photos. There are two or three photos of good size per page, making well over 200 photos. They all have detailed captions, providing as much information as possible.
The photos are clear and crisp, and without being an expert I can say that almost all were new to me.
They are sorted by variant, starting with the prototype, the K3 gun tractor, Artillerie body (a rarity of which two photos are included) and so on.
The photos of the 9/1 and 9/2 crane variants provide good inspiration for scenes, showing several of the tasks that these vehicles could carry on.
There are also photos of the Famo in Finnish service, and with a wood gas generator.
After the war, the surviving vehicles were put in good use, which is shown in a couple of pages of photos as well.
Finally, there are four pages of photos specifically for the Sd.Ah. 116 trailer, which was often paired with the Famo.

The drawings section has again all variants shown, including F3 early, mid and late, 9/1, 9/2 and flak. And there are plans for the Sd.Ah. 116 trailer.
All of them have been made by Lieven De Coninck. The main variants have nine views, the traditional front-rear-top-right-left plus four 3D views. All the standard, plain, views are at 1/35, which is useful to check models against plans or for adding details.

Then come the colour profiles by Laurent Lecocq. As usual on the series, all profiles are accompanied by a thumbnail of the photo used and the page where it can be found full size. Despite this is a detail easy to add, very few books take advantage of it. It is a big plus because there is no need to blindly trust the artist interpretation or imagination, the real photo is there for checking.
There are several interesting camouflages, and the authors have wisely selected a good range of what can be found on these vehicles, from Dark Grey brown to Dunkelgelb or white wash.
Next big section is about preserved vehicles and parts. Ten different units have been used here, with attention to detail.
Captions are long and detailed, pointing both right and wrong restorations in case needed.
There are also several photos of two different models of Bilstein cranes, that were used with the Famo, and one Flak37. As no vehicles are preserved mounting these components, they are shown separated for reference.
As contemporary photos often lack fine detail, these series are very helpful for modellers wanting to improve kits.
Finally, the last 10 pages are a gallery of models. Given that at the time of writing the book (and this review, in fact) the only 1/35 kit available is from Tamiya, they have included a 1/72 model as well, so as scratch built conversions of the 9/1, 9/2 and Flak37 carrier.
Despite all photos have captions, there is little information on building or painting processes and only 3 or 6 photos per model so this is mostly a mere gallery.

Conclusion

Nuts & Bolts has produced again an excellent reference for the Famo which should satisfy everyone, either modeller or history fan. In a single volume you will find the history and development of the vehicle, its operational use and lots of new, clear photos from wartime. The Sd.Ah. 116 trailer is covered as well.

The preserved vehicles are well shown and provide great help for the smaller details, while the rest of the sections of the book round up the information.
SUMMARY
Highs: Detailed and comprehensive information. Large number of clear photos from wartime and preserved vehicles. 1/35 drawings
Lows: None noticed
Verdict: A highly recommended volume for anyone interested in the Famo.
  Scale: N/A
  PUBLISHED: Feb 01, 2020
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.73%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 94.00%

Our Thanks to Nuts & Bolts!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Carlos Martin (varanusk)
FROM: SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN / ESPAñA

My main interest is German vehicles and guns, and I like spending time researching the vehicle and the options for the camo once I have chosen a subject. Sometimes I go for specific and rare vehicles, of which only two or three photos are known so it takes me a lot of time to figure how everything w...

Copyright ©2020 text by Carlos Martin [ VARANUSK ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

This book was already announced/reviewed (?) some months ago and while I think that the books in the series are truly invaluable and without peer I find their price as available in Canada in the soft cover format offered very steep. As in hard to justify. If they were spiral-bound or hardcover I could begin to see it but as it is I think that I'll be forced -once again- to haunt used book sellers for my copy as the price is simply too dear.
FEB 02, 2020 - 09:18 AM
Well said,'mate' my thoughts exactly. If these were originals published in the 1940's then ok the price would be justified. I have a few issues that i have managed to pick up on sale. But these prices are over the top.
FEB 02, 2020 - 01:12 PM
While whether a product is cheap or expensive is always a personal view, I have to say that N&B prices are in line with other comparable publishers like Panzer Tracts or Panzerwrecks Publishing. For a production with such a level of in-depth (and reliable) research and amount of photos, I doubt you can get a lower price from any serious publisher. Maybe the problem is the shipping charges, but I guess there should be local distributors.
FEB 02, 2020 - 09:14 PM
Wel I'm stil reading it, been browsing it a couple of time for pictures before that. It's amazingly complete! So far EVERYTHING I know about the 9 and 9/1 is in this book, and that's an achievement in it's own. I've got each and every book on the sdKfz9 and believe me: you can all sell them and buy this one. It's an amazing piece of research! (Ow, bye the way, I've got a couple of very good books on the 9 for sale. Anyone?)
FEB 02, 2020 - 09:54 PM
Well Guys, I must say that the price of this book looks very reasonable to me !! The cost are € 30,-- for a large book There are 232 pages meaning € 0,12 pro page There are 400 photo's meaning €0,075 for a singe photo Did you ever see the price list of a archive ?? Like NARA, IMW, AMW or Munich. Do you know what the price is for a single photo when you want to print 10.000 copys of your book. Do you know how many time you have to invest in a book from idea to the printing and selling of it. No well I can tell you this with € 30,-- it will be cheap. So don't give a comment on the price of a book for €30,-- Just enjoy it and thank these writers who invest so much time and money to write a good documented book for us. With kind regards. Bert
FEB 03, 2020 - 02:11 AM
Received my copy about 3 weeks ago. Everything I expected was presented. In-depth research right down to manufacturer serial numbers that received this or that particular part/change in relation to that version. Tons of photos: most I've never seen! Post war photos, and use, of the FAMO is a real bonus! This edition is a complete compliment, and companion, to Volume 12. The only 'complaint', if you may: I wished the models presented had a more in-depth description of the build that would rival the description of the FAMO in the main text, and as described, in the photos. Would loved to have known more of the techniques/secrets used by the modelers. In the end...A+ for the Nuts/Bolts team!
FEB 07, 2020 - 03:23 AM
It's a highly-specialized publication devoted to a small niche market (modelers). If you want these pubs to survive, then we have to support them.
FEB 07, 2020 - 07:36 AM
   

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